Jesus asked a question, when I return, will I even be able to find the faith on earth (Luke 18:8). When we look back to what has happened to Christianity in other parts of the world, we get a good indication of what will happen in our country in the future. In my last writing, The Church of the Future, I described what I see the church could look like.
So, I ask, how does the present day church prepare for the inevitable? Imagine walking away from your church facilities because it was no longer safe to go there. How long would it take for the facility to fall into total ruin? Is the present day, facility focused church sustainable for the long haul? Is having a church budget that requires $50,000 to a $1,000,000 dollars weekly for facilities and staffing sustainable? I don’t think so!
Every significant ministry in America should start developing an infrastructure of leaders and home groups for the day when that may be all we have. At least we will be prepared and be good stewards of THE CHURCH. When I think about the church, all it is, is the people. We are the church. Not the staffing structures, not the facilities, not the big productions that wear everyone out but the spectators, not the massive budgets, it is only the people.
I think the church will be much healthier and much stronger when all we know of church is the people, the relationships and the mission to share what we have with those that don’t have it yet. When as a living organism, we go about doing good, not to check a box that I serve a function at the church machine, but that Christ lives in me and I love him and I love you. Then we live with eyes wide open to opportunities that abound every day for me to be the heart, hands and feet of Jesus to a broken world.
The more I’ve pondered this over the weeks the more I’m seeing the machine siphons off the resources that could be going to impact the world in much more significant ways. The time, energy and money that is spent to sustain the machine actually keeps us from being the church Christ envisioned when he said, I will build my church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it. The strongest representations of the church in the world is in those countries where it is not legal to exist. They have no facilities, just a network of people who love Jesus enough to risk their lives to meet together. Until it costs us something more than busy work to belong, I’m not sure we will ever value what it means to be the church.
What is your church doing that is more than rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic? What is your church pursuing that a match and thirty minutes can’t destroy?